IDEAS AND INNOVATIONS
Applications of anthropometry in torsoplastic surgery
Received: 18 April 2013 / Accepted: 2 May 2013 / Published online: 30 May 2013
The Author(s) 2013. This article is published with open access at Springerlink.com
Abstract The study of anthropometry defines the beauty of
the torso from a geometric perspective. Anthropometry
therefore aids the plastic surgeon in planning the reshaping
of the torso and also makes positioning of areolae and the
umbilicus easier. When performing surgery on the breast, it
is necessary to relate the breast to the torso as a whole, being
anthropometry perfect for this process. When the anthropo-
metric proportions are respected, the result is aesthetically
optimal, and the perceived beauty of the body is enhanced.
The study of anthropometry is widespread in the artistic field,
and I have chosen the work of sculptor, Carlo Rochet, as the
basis for my own use of anthropometry during plastic surgery.
Level of Evidence: Level V, diagnostic study.
Positioning of areola
Positioning of umbilicus
The study of anthropometry defines the beauty of the
torso from a geometric perspective. Anthropometry there-
fore aids the plastic surgeon in planning the reshaping of
For example, when performing surgery on the breast, it is
necessary to relate the breast to the torso as a whole, through
the application of anthropometry. When the anthropometric
proportions are respected, the result is aesthetically optimal
and the perceived beauty of the body is enhanced. This
anthropometric approach also makes positioning of areolae
and the umbilicus very easy.
A rich source of anthropometric studies can be found in
the art world. Artists are often involved in the portrayal of
beauty and they have developed techniques for determining
and describing such. This process goes at least as far back as
Leonardo da Vinci.
As the basis for my own practise, I have found nineteenth
century sculptor, Carlo Rochet’s book, Le Leggi Naturali
Delle Proporzioni (‘The Natural Laws of Proportion’)an
excellent source, and some of his illustrations, somewhat
modified, are herein presented. In this article, I will focus
specifically on the application of anthropometry when
performing plastic surgery on the torso.
In order to apply the anthropometry of the torso, I have gone
back to the anthropometric studies of the nineteenth century
sculptor Carlo Rochet (Figs. 1, 3 and 4). The anthropometric
underpinnings of beauty are well-known to artists, as they
have to reproduce it in their works. I have been using
Rochet’s anthropometric studies as the starting point for all
my plastic surgery procedures.
Carlo Rochet’s scale (Fig. 1) divides the torso, the head,
the upper limbs and the lower limbs into four equal sections,
each representing the same proportions. When these anthro-
pometric proportions are respected, we have an ‘ideal’ body
contour (Fig. 1).
Clearly, as plastic surgeons, we cannot choose the
dimensions of our patients as a sculptor like Rochet
can. However, we should understand this objective geo-
metrical analysis of beauty to help us improve, as far as
F. Fantozzi (*)
ACEIP (European Surgical Association of Prof. Ivo Pitanguy
Alumni), Rome, Italy
Eur J Plast Surg (2013) 36:519–526